Angels Get Blanton’d in Opener Against Cubs

By Michael Hllywa

So there I was earlier today, building up Joe Blanton. He had a bad start his last time out, but he’s been rather reliable over the last six or so weeks for the Angels. Even though the Cubs had Travis Wood going for them in tonight’s series opener, I felt no reason to be worried with Blanton on the hill for the Angels.

Well, color me naive.

The Angels were in a heap of trouble from the get-go tonight. And when I mean the “get-go,” I absolutely mean the “get-go.”

That would be the Win Probability chart from Fangraphs. Something I am probably going to be adding to these fancy shmancy post game write up-type do-hickeys.

Anyway, that red dot that signifies Anthony Rizzo‘s home run in the first inning, gave the Cubs a win expectancy of 61.3%. He was the third Cub to hit. The very next hitter was Alfonso Soriano. He also homered. Putting the Cubs win expectancy at 71.3%. You can see where I am going with this.

It never got better for the Angels and Blanton.

Starlin Castro homered in the third for his fifth of the season. In the sixth inning, Darwin Barney (easily the funniest name in baseball), hit a three-run home run to put the Cubbies up 6-0. Barney’s home run put the Cubs win expectancy at 98.8%! By the sixth inning, it was basically over, and that home run mercifully ended Joe Blanton’s evening. Five-plus innings, eight hits, six runs, three walks, three strikeouts and four home runs. Thanks for making me look like a fool Joe, I appreciate it.

The Angels weren’t completely devoid of offense though tonight. Mike Trout started off the seventh with a walk. Albert Pujols followed that up with his 14th home run of the season. It was also the 26th home run he has hit at Wrigley Field. Albert likes playing at Wrigley Field as much as I like chocolate cake with a scoop of ice cream. The Angels threatened more in that inning, eventually loading the bases for Brad Hawpe. But this isn’t 2009, and Hawpe struck out to end the inning.

The Cubs added another run on, you guessed it, another home run. Alfonso Soriano took reliever Michael Kohn deep for his second of the game, and his 15th of the season. Welcome to Wrigley, no one ever knows which way the wind is going to blow.

The Angels sent seven more hitters to the plate between the eighth and ninth innings. The lone hit during the stretch was a Mark Trumbo double in the ninth, but that didn’t matter because this game was over long ago thanks to Joe Blanton and gopher balls.

The Angels have one more game at the Friendly Confines tomorrow evening at 5:05 PM PST. C.J. Wilson is on the mound against Jeff Samardzija in a battle of the long hairs. Light up the fail-o, light up the awkwardness, light up Joe Blanton.